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Equine Enterprise Profile – Donna Murray Custom Horsehair & Wool Designs by Carol M. Upton

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   April 13, 2013 10:12

Custom Horsehair Artist Donna Murray was raised on a mixed farm in southeastern Saskatchewan and horses were always a part of her life.  She says that she and her siblings were involved in 4H, fairs, rodeos, trail rides and wagon trains. During the summer months, their family operated a Vacation farm, hosting children from the city for horseback riding and other activities.
After graduation, Donna obtained a Farrier Sciences Certificate and worked with horses at racetracks and guest ranches. A serious injury in 1989 stopped her in her tracks. Unable to physically work with horses now, Donna looked for another way to stay connected to them. She became a self-taught horsehair braider and hitcher.  She credits the mentoring she received from Ron and Shoni Maulding – Authors of Hitched Horsehair Books I and II - with helping her work to evolve into what it is today.
Collaborating with other creatives meant more opportunities to attend trade fairs and other equine events, and Donna’s business grew. She started getting requests to make custom pieces – items made from the hair of specific individual horses. Donna says the majority of her custom work is done using the hair from deceased horses and she understands the desire many people have to keep a memento of their horses that have passed.
“Losing a horse is an emotional experience for the person,” Donna says, “and sometimes it is hard to take the step of cutting their hair.”
Items range from small pieces like zipper pulls to big pieces like hitched belts and the item/s made can be dictated by how much hair has been saved. Donna can also supplement a specific horse’s hair with additional horsehair she has in stock.

Southern Alberta is an area rich in artisans, and Donna has been fortunate to work with others to complete items - silversmiths, leatherworkers, potters, picture framers, and wood carvers. She is always open to suggestions from her customers, and some beautiful pieces have been created using their ideas.
Every day at Donna Murray Custom Horsehair can be different, depending on orders. Time of completion for an item depends on the item, what type of work is needed and whether there is dyeing involved. Donna receives orders from around the globe, but the majority of her customers are from the U.S. There is a lot of competition in this field of work, with Made in Mexico and China horsehair products readily available. Donna says the adage "You get what you pay for" really holds true, with her work being higher priced than imports but also much higher quality.

Anyone who wants to become a horsehair worker will need tons of patience, perseverance, creativity and another source of income. Donna says that is all offset by her enjoyment of working with clients and seeing that they are satisfied with her unique products.
Customers can purchase horsehair items without having to have horses, or take hair from their own horses. As well as the horsehair items, Donna makes hand-latched wool products - saddle blankets, wither pads and tush cushes. The saddle blankets are very popular, and she has many repeat customers for them.

Donna says her website has been a great tool for clients to find her work. Her site is newly redesigned, along with a Facebook page. She welcomes all enquiries and looks forward to an exciting New Year.

Donna Murray is a self-taught horsehair hitcher and braider, who resides in Lethbridge, Alberta. She started working with horsehair in 1992 and, with patience and perseverance, has learned to create high-quality, functional items. Visit Donna at:   www.customhorsehairandwoolcreations.com 

Carol Upton (604) 886-8951
Dreams Aloud Promotions
~ Linking your dreams to the world
Website:      www.dreamsaloud.ca
Twitter:         http://twitter.com/#!/Karolka
LinkedIn:      http://linkd.in/qyQNxy
Facebook:   http://on.fb.me/dTidfK

HOT:          http://www.horseownertoday.com/vendor.aspx?vid=79


Business Structures for Agriculture Ventures

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 11, 2013 12:43

by Brenda Stefanson, PAg
Regional Farm Business Management Specialist

Over the years, groups of farmers have worked together to capture business opportunities, allowing the group to accomplish what the individual group-members cannot do on their own. One of the first of many decisions the group must make as they undertake a business venture, is whether they will form as a corporation or a co-operative. Each of these business structures has advantages and disadvantages.
A corporation is a legal entity that has a separate legal existence from its shareholders and directors. Shareholders and directors are not generally personally liable for the debts, obligations or acts of the corporation. Private corporations are formed by one or more people and cannot sell shares or securities to the general public. Public corporations can issue securities to the public but the corporation must file a prospectus with the Saskatchewan Securities Commission, employ outside auditors and distribute semi-annual financial statements.
There are many advantages to operating as a corporation.
•    Limited Liability: Generally speaking, a shareholder is only liable to the extent of his/her investment in the corporation.
•    Continuity of Existence: The existence of a corporation is not affected by the death or bankruptcy of a shareholder or director.
•    Ownership is transferable: Shareholders can sell or transfer shares to others.
•    Tax advantages: Accountants and tax professionals are best equipped to assess the tax advantages or disadvantages of the business structure.
Some of the disadvantages of a corporate structure include:
•    Corporations can be costly to form.
•    Corporations are closely regulated and require extensive record keeping.
•    Shareholder control is based on size of investment.
•    A large investor could assume control of the corporation.
•    Conflict may develop between shareholders and/or between shareholders and management.
A co-operative is a corporation organized and controlled by its members. Co-operatives are separate legal entities and therefore, share the limited liability and other characteristics with corporations. The democratic principle of “one member, one vote” is the characteristic that sets co-ops apart.  Profits of the co-operative are distributed among members as patronage dividends.
The advantages of the co-operative structure include:
•    Democratic control:  The one member, one vote principle ensures co-operatives are owned and controlled by the people who use them.
•    Limited Liability: Members are not liable for the debts, obligations or acts of the co-operative.
•    Patronage Dividends: Surplus earnings are distributed as shares or cash to members in proportion to use.
There are some disadvantages to using the co-operative structure:
•    Member participation determines the success of the venture.
•    Decisions may take longer.
•    As with corporations, record keeping is extensive.
•    There is the potential for conflict between members and/or between members and management.
•    There is less incentive for members to invest additional capital.
Corporations and co-operatives share many characteristics and both have been used successfully by groups of farmers to capture opportunities or solve problems.
For more information on this topic contact your Regional Farm Business Management Specialist at 306-946-3214 or the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.

Equine Enterprise Profile: Paper Horse Photography with Andrea Blair By Carol M. Upton

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   December 18, 2012 07:48


Photography began for Andrea Blair when she was only 5 years old. Andrea’s family had always been creative in film and photography, so she naturally absorbed a love of this art through them. Today, she is renowned for her work from her Paper Horse Photography studio in Salmon Arm, B.C., showcasing the intense connection between people and animals, particularly horses.

Whether a client wants a farm family session, fun photos of horses and dogs, or a professional equestrian event shoot, Andrea is there with the skills to create a relaxed combination of client bond with her vision.

“I believe stepping out of the box is important,” Andrea says, “ embracing myself as an artist and following my own path.”

For Andrea, that means illuminating the love between pets and their people in the most creative possible ways, while still reflecting individual spirit. Only a trip through her online gallery can possibly do justice to this sensitive and patient work.

Andrea started in wedding and family photography, but quickly realized that her heart is with photographing animals and the lives that people build around them. Several years ago, she began connecting with the equine community via horse sport events and has never looked back.

Andrea is a busy mom who also works another full-time job, so organization and tight deadlines are the watchwords of her day. She often fits her photography work, image editing and email processing long into the night.

Andrea describes herself has having “…. a big heart and big dreams.” Always seeking another challenge, one of her biggest joys is traveling across the provinces meeting new people and their animals. She is now spearheading the second year of her Senior Horse Project.

“I am inspired by life in all its stages - every wrinkle, pucker, protrusion, sway back, grey hair or lack of teeth that tell the story of who these horses are at this stage in their life. As I photograph them I am further intrigued to hear their story as told by the people who love them.”

Once she has enough senior horses photographed, Andrea will compile their images and stories together to produce a book. She invites queries on this project and the focus in early 2013 will be on miniatures. Sales of prints have been particularly popular this year for Paper Horse Photography and Andrea is excited about the new energy her work is bringing to her in 2013.

Andrea Blair | Paper Horse Photography is a portrait photographer specializing in equine and canine photography with a style consisting of candid, heartfelt and emotional imagery. Based in Salmon Arm, BC Andrea is always eager to capture the bond between people and their animals. Visit her gallery at http://www.andreablair.com or her Blog at http://www.ablairphotographyblog.com


Carol Upton (604) 886-8951
Dreams Aloud Promotions
~ Linking your dreams to the world
Website:      www.dreamsaloud.ca
Twitter:         http://twitter.com/#!/Karolka
LinkedIn:      http://linkd.in/qyQNxy
Facebook:   http://on.fb.me/dTidfK

HOT:          http://www.horseownertoday.com/vendor.aspx?vid=79

Equine Enterprise Profile: Prue Critchley and Empres

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   September 21, 2012 07:38




Prue Critchley's horse breeding business began with the purchase of a Morgan mare in 1987.  We had emigrated from the UK in 1982 and I was finally able to fulfill my dream of owning horses.  Shortly after Prue purchased an Arabian gelding, Keylyn TH Censor,  for endurance and competitive trail.  He completed 4500 miles in competition including the Tevis - one day 100 mile ride in Calfornia.   She enjoyed the characteristics so much that she decided to breed her mare to his sire.  This produced Prue's next Endurance and CTR horse, Fort William+/ who has completed over 5000 miles in competition.
2002 brought a major purchase to Prue's farm,  a beautiful Arabian stallion, Perdition VF (Probat x Peleryna by Algomej.)  He died very unexpectedly in 2010 - Prue was devastated to lose her special stallion. 
When *Empres became available on the sale market, Prue's thoughts were "  Here is another beautiful stallion with a very similar pedigree, A few months later, he was mine!"
*Empres is a son of the legendary horse Monogramm, his dam, Empressa, a Polish National Champion mare is by Probat.  Empressa is from Michalow's famous "E" line and includes the stallions Eukaliptus, Bandos and Celebes.
*Empres was born at Michalow State Stud, Poland in 1995 under the direction of Ignacy Jaworowski. He was Top Five colt at the Polish National Junior Show in 1996.  He successfully raced in Warsaw as a three year old and then stood at stud at various farms in Poland until he was sold through the Polish sale in 2002.  Empres relocated to the Netherlands and was shown at the Dutch National Stallion Show where he earned First Premium in 2003 and the Belgian Stallion Licencing, Gold Certification also in 2003.
Empres was exported to the US in 2008 where he was shown at several shows including Scottsdale where he achieved Top Fives and Top Tens in halter and sport horse classes. 
On arriving in Canada, Empres was shown in Sport Horse and in Main Ring Halter.  Empres finished the year top ten in Stallion Breeding.
2012 saw Empres winning Championship in Sport Horse In Hand at this year's Canadian National show. Empres went on to Top Ten in the large Sport Horse Under Saddle, placing 4th.
"September 2012,  Empres will be coming home to spend the winter relaxing and being ridden by myself." says Prue
Empres has sired 25 foals in Poland, several have been successful race horses, one has excelled in dressage and was named the Top Arabian Horse Under Saddle in 2009.  He has 2 foals in the US and one in Australia.  
Empres was CA and SCIDs tested upon entry into Canada.  He is SCIDs clear but a CA carrier.  We ask all mare owners to test their mares prior to breeding and only negative mares will be bred to ensure that no CA foals are ever produced.  So many of the great horses of the past have been carriers for both genetic diseases and it is fortunate now that testing is available so that potential disaster can be avoided.
"Empres' future looks very rosy!  He is enjoying the dressage and shows well in hand - with his wonderful disposition he has a lot to offer the Arabian horse world and we are so enjoying being a part of his success both in the ring and the breeding shed.  He will return to DJ Cairns next year for further training and showing."




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Horse Breeder

Equine Enterprise Profile – Thunderbird Horse Center Ltd. with Neil and Kathy McLeod by Carol M. Upton

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   September 14, 2012 11:48


Neil McLeod has been riding continuously since he was 6 years old, but he says he could not have predicted where his love of horses and training them would eventually take him.

On a recent visit to Brandon, Manitoba I was delighted to tour Thunderbird Horse Center and learn more about the humble beginnings of this family-owned and operated business. McLeod sees his own curiosity and desire to learn as two of the qualities that resulted in what is now one of Canada’s largest training and AQHA breeding facilities. Owners from across North America come to buy some of the best AQHA horses or send their horses here for Neil’s brand of performance training. Thunderbird bred and trained horses consistently win in Roping, Working Cow Horse, AQHA Versatility, Reining and Ranch Horse Competitions across the country.

Thunderbird Horse Center is home to approximately 100 AQHA horses that have been produced through a 30 year, six generation breeding program. During my visit, I also saw  beautifully-maintained facilities. Most striking is the unique “No Boundaries” Equine Challenge course, a layout of 15 obstacles designed to measure horsemanship abilities in a controlled environment. Neil obligingly demonstrated the skills in hand of his own equine athlete Pompasas, who appeared to enjoy climbing up and posing on the pedestals as much as we enjoyed watching him. This course is the site of the exciting No Boundaries Equine Challenge, a sponsored event organized annually by Thunderbird Horse Center.

Neil and his partner Kathy exhibit all the strengths of successful business people, particularly a down-to-earth sense of ethics.

“We aim to treat all customers and clients fairly and honestly,” McLeod says. “Our mission is to create the very best horses we can with the time and resources we have available.”

Days at Thunderbird are filled with the maintenance of horses, completing registrations, office administration, special events, training and lessons. Neil does a lot of ground work with each horse and operates from the premise of understanding what a horse is thinking and feeling. The McLeods see their biggest challenge as “how to get 20 hours out of a 10 hour day.” Organization and building a great team helps to overcome this challenge. Their advice to anyone wanting to start a breeding/training program includes the recognition that it is never about the money. It is about beating the odds with the desire to see a vision become reality.

“Never quit learning,” Neil suggests, “in all walks of life. When horsemanship is good, it will never let you down.”

Patience, hard work and never losing sight of the dream has paid off for the McLeods. Their future plan is a simple one – to make Thunderbird Horse Center the best it can be. Looks like that may have been already achieved!

Thunderbird Horse Center was established in 1977 and has grown to one of Canada’s foremost producers of quality performance bred AQHA horses. We have something for everyone from prospects to well-broke show ready horse and we also offer lessons, boarding and training. Visit us in-person or at http://www.thunderbirdhorses.com/cms/

Carol Upton (604) 886-8951
Dreams Aloud Promotions
~ Linking your dreams to the world
Website:      www.dreamsaloud.ca
Twitter:         http://twitter.com/#!/Karolka
LinkedIn:      http://linkd.in/qyQNxy
Facebook:   http://on.fb.me/dTidfK

HOT:          http://www.horseownertoday.com/vendor.aspx?vid=79

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Smartphones for Business

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   August 10, 2012 06:53

Smartphones are a new way of taking your information with you, accessing it at a moment’s notice, and sharing that information in a convenient manner. Styles and name brands vary, but the point of a smartphone is to be able to connect with people through up to 3 ways:

1) Web Browsing – This is the easiest to understand, since it is like opening a web page on your computer and surfing the internet, except you can do this right from your phone to look up a product’s website, look up a phone number or address, or look up your favorite news site.

2) Apps – This is short for applications, and these are small parts of software that do various singular tasks. Some of them connect to the internet, and some do not. Facebook is an example of an app, but so is a simple app like a calculator.

3) Email – Smartphones are a wonderful way of streamlining all of your email accounts into one device for easy reference and replying. They are so convenient that you can access them with a touch of a finger. Darryl Tanasychuk,

Mobile Department Visions Electronics 2731 Faithful Ave Saskatoon,

Saskatchewan S7K 7C3

kiosk19@visions.ca 306-664-3666 Phone 306-664-4441 Fax

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Farm Safety: Children on the Farm

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   July 23, 2012 17:45

Brenda Stefanson, PAg

Farm Business Management Specialist

Regional Services, Ministry of Agriculture

Watrous Regional Office


Farm families have always worked together to build successful farm operations. On many farms, the human resource plan assigns much of the labour and management tasks to family members, young and old.  Today’s young farm operators learned their production and management knowledge as they worked side-by-side with parents and grandparents. Now, they will pass these skills on to another generation of farm kids.

Family farm life provides a stimulating learning environment for children of all ages. The knowledge and the work ethic they develop while helping on the family farm will serve them well in their future careers. However, the farm is also a workplace in which numerous health and safety hazards are present. Here’s some practical and common sense advice for busy farm families to ensure the safety, health and well being of their children and teenagers.

Identify Hazards. There are numerous hazards on a farm including machinery, chemicals, unpredictable livestock, enclosed spaces (grain storage, etc.), and electricity.  An important step to preventing tragedy is to make a list of all the things that could seriously harm a younger child. Develop fenced-off safe play areas to keep toddlers and younger children away from workplace hazards. As children grow older and increasingly participate in farm activities, continue to work with them to assess the hazards and ensure that older children are appropriately trained.

Base Expectations on Both Age and Maturity. Children grow and mature at different rates. Young adults tend to overestimate their skill and knowledge levels when asked if they can perform a task. Parents are the best judge of when a young adult has the maturity to take on farm chores that are hazardous. Initial training and supervision is important to ensure your child can do the chore safely.

Emphasize Safety and Model Safe Behavior. Consider your own behavior in busy and difficult times. Do you take shortcuts that compromise safety? Children will learn your habits… both good and bad. Keep them safe as they learn about farm work through the consistent demonstration of your own good habits and safe work practices.

Develop and Enforce a Safe Environment.  Set up appropriate rules for your children to follow and monitor them consistently. Utilize the many government and community agencies that focus on farm safety to learn more about protecting your loved ones on the family farm.

The Agriculture Health and Safety Network, the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, and the Ministry of Agriculture can provide you with information and resources to help you keep your family and employees safe as they work and play this summer. As we look forward to a busy and productive growing season and our children enjoy their summer vacation, keep safety in mind.

For more information, please contact:

    Watrous Regional Services Office at (306) 946-3220,
    Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377or
    Visit our website at www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca.


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Equine Enterprise Profile – Performance Equine Therapy with Amanda Duerr by Carol M. Upton

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   July 13, 2012 17:16


Human beings are embracing natural wellness for themselves these days and Amanda Duerr is doing much the same for equine athletes with her Saskatchewan-based Performance Equine Therapy. Duerr’s mission is to provide quality Equine Chiropractic, Massage Therapy and Acupressure, but also to help educate owners so they may care for their equine partners at a higher level. She promotes wellness through injury prevention and health maintenance.

Duerr grew up on a farm where horses were a part of daily life. Her family encouraged both the competitive and recreational sides of horses. Duerr subsequently spent every summer at shows or rodeos, took strongly to the performance/sport horse area and studied for years with different industry professionals. She developed a passion for animal health and decided to pursue a career caring for equine athletes.

“I set my standards high in gaining experience in sports therapy and equine rehabilitation,” says Duerr. “The demand for quality equine therapy programs for Canadian horses was strong and this led to the start-up of Performance Equine Therapy.”

Duerr’s business is unique in that her programs are developed, in collaboration with owners, coaches and trainers, according to each horse’s specific needs. She takes pride in offering full spectrum care and a holistic approach based on sound medical knowledge. A typical day is extremely busy and may include working in a clinic atmosphere, attending to horses that are hauled to appointments, or going on the road to individual barns. Duerr  says she finds her joy in seeing results in the horses.

“Whether it’s helping horse and rider reach a  higher performance level, working on a maintenance program or simply achieving better life quality, it all comes down to a healthier, happier horse.” 

One of Duerr’s biggest business challenges is juggling appointments while on the road. She asks owners to provide her 48 hour notice of rescheduling and she also leaves small spaces in her day so that cancellations or changes do not create insurmountable difficulties.

Duerr suggests that anyone interested in starting an equine therapy business ought to acquire as much education and experience in the field as possible. She equates success with the amount of drive a person has to better themselves and for her that means staying current on new therapies, being an active member of the horse industry and attending seminars on a regular basis.

Future plans for Performance Equine Therapy include new program and resource development. Simply put, Duerr loves her healing work and sees in it endless benefits to both horse and rider.
About Amanda Duerr

Amanda Duerr is a Certified Equine Therapist who has been providing chiropractic/massage care for several years. Her gentle holistic approach and natural solutions for common health issues have improved the lives and performance capabilities of horses throughout Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba. When she’s not working, she trains barrel horses and participates in rodeos. Visit Amanda at: www.performance-equinetherapy.com

Carol Upton (604) 886-8951
Dreams Aloud Promotions
~ Linking your dreams to the world
Website:      www.dreamsaloud.ca
Twitter:         http://twitter.com/#!/Karolka
LinkedIn:      http://linkd.in/qyQNxy
Facebook:   http://on.fb.me/dTidfK

HOT:          http://www.horseownertoday.com/vendor.aspx?vid=79

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Equine Enterprise Profile – Cuatro L Andalusians with Carlos and Brenda Lara by Carol M. Upton

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   July 6, 2012 06:29


Most horse-lovers find themselves entranced by the sight of the regal Andalusian. We may have seen them in such fantasy epics as The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, or watched them turn in a breath-taking Grand Prix performance. They are one of the oldest and noblest breeds of horse in the world, unforgettable to see no matter what discipline you may favour.

Cuatro L Andalusians, located on 4,000 acres in Wainwright, Alberta, is the largest exclusively Pura Raza Espanola (PRE - translated as “Pure Spanish Horse”) breeding facility in Canada. They have the widest selection of horses for sale, at all ages, genders and levels of training.

Cuatro Owner Carlos Lara, who has been riding since the age of 4, has a great passion for horses, handed down to him by his father. After moving from Mexico to Canada, he searched for a business he could love that would also remind him of his home country and breeding the Spanish/PRE horse has fulfilled this criteria.


Carlos Riding

                                                             Photo credit Johane Jenelle                                                            

Honouring four generations of equine tradition, Cuatro L Andalusian Breeding Centre was established in 1999 by Carlos and Brenda Lara to bring Spanish bred Andalusians to North America. They identified Canadian demand for these horses, spent four months in Spain to find the best breeders, and decided on the foundation stock that they then shipped to Canada as their first herd. 

The Laras see their mission as the introduction of the versatile Andalusian to Canada, for use not only in dressage, but for riders of all disciplines. It is their goal to increase the popularity of the breed in Canada. At the Centre, they continually demonstrate that the Andalusian is not only a good option in competitive riding, but in some areas also the best, due to athletic ability, intelligence and amazing disposition. 

“The PRE horse, with exceptional character and willingness to please, is one of the easiest to train,” Lara explains. “They are also incredibly athletic and brave, since they were used for centuries in war and in bull fighting.”


Cuatro Stallion

                                                                Photo credit Johane Jenelle

Horse care, breeding, work with foals, maintenance of the grounds, and training are all part of a typical day at Cuatro. Currently, there are 12 horses in training from green broke to Grand Prix level. As the facility is only open to the public April to September, they are now in the midst of their busiest season.

The Laras cite discipline, hard work, perseverance, and a passion for horses as essential qualities for working in the breeding business.  Lara sees his Latin American background and extensive experience in the PRE horse industry as a particular strength in offering the best Andalusians in Canada and in educating the equine enthusiast population in all aspects of the PRE horse.

Future plans include a stronger marketing and promotion campaign. Cuatro’s exceptional Andalusians are a powerful testament to the obvious passion the Laras have for everything they undertake. That leaves no doubt that they will reach the next level with their larger vision of ultimately providing horses for export to the United States.

Cuatro L is the largest exclusively Pura Raza Espanola (PRE) breeding facility in Canada and they focus only on the ancient Cerrado en Bocado bloodline. Nothing is spared to produce animals of the very best caliber. Visit Cuatro and the Laras at: http://www.andalusianbreeder.com

Carol Upton (604) 886-8951
Dreams Aloud Promotions
~ Linking your dreams to the world
Twitter:         http://twitter.com/#!/Karolka
LinkedIn:      http://linkd.in/qyQNxy
Facebook:   http://on.fb.me/dTidfK



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Equine Enterprise Profile: Prairie Brae Farms with Karl and Grace Krautt

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   June 15, 2012 12:00










Prairie Brae Donkey Jumping  - above 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Prairie Brae Grace & Spirit - right

By Carol M. Upton of Dreams Aloud Promotions



Karl and Grace Krautt had never even heard of Miniature Donkeys when they paid their first visit to a Breeders’ farm. Their lives had been busy with agricultural work and they were looking for something to fill that void as they neared retirement, but were not actually intending to start a business. All that fell by the wayside when the donkeys captured their hearts.

“Miniature Donkeys were such fun,” Grace explains. “We purchased a couple of bred Jennets and for the next few years, the business end developed itself.”

Little did Grace and Karl know that they would go on to breed and sell these loveable creatures, enter parades, show at events like the Calgary Stampede’s World Miniature Donkey Show, and do nursing home and kindergarten visits. Prairie Brae’s mission is based on the Three C’s of Confirmation, Character and Customer Satisfaction. Their donkeys are hardy, intelligent, gentle animals that love human attention and make excellent pets. They can be taught to jump, pull carts, carry packs on hiking trips, and participate in therapeutic settings. Prairie Brae Donkeys have also competed and won Champion Awards at many shows, both at halter and in performance.

Aside from getting the donkeys into the public eye, the Krautts have found their website to be their most powerful business tool. Professional development includes involvement in events with other breeders and organizations like the Canadian Donkey and Mule Association, where ideas for marketing, care and training are exchanged. 

Grace describes spending time with the animals as the fun side of the business. Miniature Donkeys are easy maintenance, but feeding, grooming, trimming, training and public visits definitely are all part of the day. Grace finds her greatest joy in the smiles of children, seniors and others with special needs when they are in the therapeutic presence of a gentle donkey. She feels that public education is key in helping people to understand these animals more accurately.

“Donkeys are not stubborn,” she says. “They don’t kick, but they are cautious and clever. They become trusting with patient handling and will attempt difficult maneuvers, both in lead line and driven.”

After nineteen years of working with Miniature Donkeys, Karl and Grace are always thrilled to share their passion for these charismatic creatures with whom they have found a life of joy, companionship and entertainment.

“They have an aura of peace,” Grace says, “that you cannot explain in a few words on paper.” 

Karl and Grace Krautt and Prairie Brae Miniature Donkeys live in Stettler, Alberta. They welcome inquiries and enjoy talking “Donkey” at 403-742-1144, gkkrautt@xplornet.com or http://www.prairiebrae.com.

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